Moving Forward

Acts 17:1-15

The great adventure was not nearly over when Paul and the others left Philippi; it was just getting started. Luke mentions a number of towns they visited, and then tells us of some of the details of the visits to Thessalonica and Berea, and in doing so; we find an interesting contrast between the two communities.

In Thessalonica, Paul begins by teaching in the synagogue for three Sabbath days. He showed them, using the Scriptures, that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah, and a fair number of the people came to believe. Yet others were “jealous” and these decided to recruit a bunch of unsavory characters to instigate a riot, with the result that Paul and Silas left town, and Jason had a very close call before the magistrate; but a church was established in spite of all of this phony riot business.

When Paul and Silas reached Berea, they found a quite different group of Jews. These people eagerly examined the Scriptures as Paul taught, wanting to see if his message was true, and upon finding that he was indeed telling the truth, they gladly received his message about Jesus. From Luke’s narrative it would appear that no one in Berea was “jealous” of the message Paul and Silas taught, but word of their activities would soon reach Thessalonica, and the unsavory characters were soon dispatched to Berea, and Paul was soon secreted to Athens where the rest of his party would soon join him.

The contrast between the two communities is obvious enough; one had a large number who were jealous, and the other had a large number who were willing to verify what was true, and act according to their truth findings. As for the manufactured riots using unsavory characters… that is a political tactic that is still used to this day.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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2 Responses to Moving Forward

  1. Don, I would like to make an observation here, it doesn’t say that a large number of the Jews were jealous. I bring this up not to point at flaws, but to point out that, like today, it doesn’t take a large number of people to cause problems, a vocal minority can stir up others to cause trouble. We see it repeatedly where a small number of irate people can cause trouble, such as with ISIS, they are hardly a majority in the Muslim community, but look at the problems they’ve caused worldwide.

    Again, I bring this up, not to point out flaws, but to ponder – how many in Thessalonica were really against Paul and Silas? We will never really know, but it does make one wonder.

    • Don Merritt says:

      I agree with your premise, particularly as it applies to the riots… actually I have much to say on that. Yet as it applies to the “jealous” ones , I think (rightly or wrongly) that Luke give us a clue: Notice in v. 4 that “some Jews” and a “large number” of Gentiles believe the message. Then notice in v. 5 that “other Jews” were jealous, not a few or some or for that matter a great many. I take that to mean that there were most likely more who were jealous than were convinced.

      Of course, I may also be all wet 🙂

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